Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

Front Cover
Basic Books, 2001 - Religion - 375 pages
30 Reviews
Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
11
4 stars
6
3 stars
10
2 stars
3
1 star
0

Review: Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

User Review  - Andi - Goodreads

If you can get past the writing style, there are some very intriguing ideas presented in this book. Sadly, that is a big IF. It was sheer determination and stubbornness that allowed me to get through ... Read full review

Review: Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

User Review  - Hamzah Alrawi - Goodreads

Great book, mostly based on scientific research, even though it gets a little boring later. I'd say it's a long scientific paper but for the public reader who is expected to have a little background ... Read full review

Contents

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN?
1
WHAT SUPERNATURAL CONCEPTS ARE LIKE
51
THE KIND OF MIND IT TAKES
93
WHY GODS AND SPIRITS?
137
WHY DO GODS AND SPIRITS MATTER?
169
WHY IS RELIGION ABOUT DEATH?
203
WHY RITUALS?
229
WHY DOCTRINES EXCLUSION AND VIOLENCE?
265
WHY BELIEF?
297
Further readings
331
Notes
335
References
343
Index
359
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

Pascal Boyer is Luce Professor of Collective and Individual Memory at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Bibliographic information